ProofWiki:Jokes/Physicist Mathematician and Engineer Jokes/Burning Hotel
Physicist Mathematician and Engineer Jokes
The Burning Hotel
A physicist, a mathematician and an engineer stay in a hotel.
The engineer is awakened by a smell and gets up to check it. He finds a fire in the hallway, sees a nearby fire extinguisher and after extinguishing it, goes back to bed.
Later that night, the physicist gets up, again because of the smell of fire. He quickly gets up and sees the fire in the hallway. After calculating air pressure, flame temperature and humidity as well as distance to the fire and projected trajectory, he extinguishes the fire with the least amount of fluid.
Finally, the mathematician awakes, only again to find a fire in the hallway. He instantly sees the extinguisher and thinks, "A solution exists!", and heads back into his room.
The punchline has been left as an exercise for the reader.
The mathematician awakens, and finds another fire in the hallway. He looks out the door, then goes back to bed. The house ends up burning down, but the physicist and engineer manages to save the mathematician. When asked why he didn't put out the fire, he says: "I saw the fire, I saw the extinguisher, the solution was trivial."
Then the mathematician awakens, and finds that the embers of the fire are still burning. After giving much thought to the problem, he gets up and lights it up to an actual fire. Then he goes back to sleep, satisfied that the problem has been reduced to a previously solved one.
Then the mathematician awakens, and finds another fire in the hallway. He quickly tears pages out of his notebook, lighting them on fire one by one. He then runs down the hall sliding sheets of burning paper under the other guests' doors.
After the building burns to the ground the fire marshal asks the mathematicians how the fire spread so fast.
He responds: "I thought distributing the problem would lead to finding a solution faster."